King Edward the Confessor’s Embroidered Mantle

King Edward depicted in the Bayeux tapestry. King Edward depicted in the Bayeux tapestry.

In a medieval written inventory, reference is made to an embroidered mantle of King Edward the Confessor (r: 1042-1066), the last Anglo-Saxon king of England. King Edward is depicted at the beginning of the Bayeux tapestry.

The inventory of King Edward’s regalia was compiled by Sporley, a monk of Westminster Abbey (London) in about AD 1450. The manuscript is now held in the British Library (BL MS Cotton Claudius A viii fol.31v). The list refers to garments and other items preserved in the Abbey, including items said to be the king’s coronation garments:

Reliquie sanctorum Confessorum. Sanctus Edwardus rex et Confessor as memoriam futurorum et pro dignitate regie Coronacionis omnia Regalia ornamenta in ecclesia hac reseruari precepit cum quibus ipse coronatus fuit videlicet tunicam supertunicam. Armillam Zonam. Paleum brudatum. par caligarum. Par cerotecarum sceptrum aureum vnam ligneam virgam deauratam alteram ferream. Item coronam auream, optimam. vnum pectinem aureum et cocliar. Item pro coronacione Regine coronam et duas virgas. Item pro communione domini Regis in die Coronacionis vnum calicem/lapidis onichini cum pete ligaturis et patena de auro optimo. que [fo. 32] omnia pro reliquiis preciosis habeantur.

'Relics of Holy Confessors. Saint Edward, king and confessor, for the memory of posterity and for the dignity of the royal coronation, caused to be preserved in this church all the royal ornaments with which he was crowned; namely his tunicle, supertunica, armil, girdle and embroidered pall; a pair of buskins, a pair of gloves, a golden sceptre, one wooden rod gilt, another of iron. Also an excellent golden crown, a golden comb, and a spoon. Also for the coronation of the queen, a crown and two rods. Also for the communion of the lord king, on the day of his coronation, one chalice of onyx stone with a foot, rivets, and a paten of the best gold; all of which are to be considered precious relics.'

The embroidered pall (paleum brudatum) was probably a lavish, semi-circular cloak worn or owned by the king. It is likely to have been virtually indistinguishable from an ecclesiastical cope, judging by the roughly contemporary coronation mantles of Roger of Sicily and Stephen of Hungary, and the Bamberg cathedral mantles. Whether the objects that Sporley recorded were actually the objects worn and held by King Edward at his coronation in 1042 is now unanswerable.

Source: LEGG, L.G.W. (1901). English Coronation Records, Westminster (London): A. Constable, p. 191.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 9 July 2016).


Last modified on Wednesday, 01 March 2017 15:14